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The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
June 5, 2014     The Ponchatoula Times
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June 5, 2014

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THE NEWSPAPER OF AMERICA'S ANTIQUE CITY D facebook.com/theponchatoulatimes www. ponchatoula.com/ptimes Hail the new Strawberry Queen! Old police station to come down The one-time Ponchatoula Jail, court, and police station will be demolished to make way for an expanded parking complex that will include the former First Guaranty Bank property at West Hickory and North Sixth Street. Police Chief Bry Layrisson has signed off on the plan. (Times Photo) Notable Ponchatoula Fires House Fires By JIM PERRIN Educator and Historian (Part 4 of 6 in a Series) The loss of one's home and accumulated possessions is a griev- ous setback in life even when not aggravated by persona] injury or loss of life. Many Ponchatoula homeown- ers lived on marginal incomes and did not carry fire insurance to mitigate their losses. Listed below are just a few of the early house fires in this area noted in local newspapers.   The J. N. Muller home locat. ed two miles from Ponchatoula, was totally destroyed by fire in January 1890, probably from a defective flue, with a loss es- timated at $4,400, which was partly covered by insurance. The residence of Charles H. Haight in Ponchatoula was de- stroyed by a fire in November 1909 which started in the kitch- en and spread rapidly. John Ak- : ers, an aged Confederate veter- an was in the house at the time nd barely escaped. The house was occupied by Mr. Haight's son William Haight and his family. It was valued at $2,000 and was uninsured. The home and barn belonging to B. G. Davies located six miles east of Ponchatoula at Davies Ferry on the Tangipahoa River burned with a loss estimated at $5,500 in February 1911. Later that same year the un- insured six room winter home of Ponchatoula newspaper edi- tor H. W. Wren was completely destroyed. The roaring flames awakened Mrs. Wren and her four children and they rushed out of the house in their night- clothes and found refuge from the cold in their barn. Times Report The Ponchatoula City Council will vote on a $7,015,225 pro- posed municipal budget at its June 9 meeting. That includes a five percent across-the-board raise for all em- JUNE 5, 2014 34 th YEAR NUMBER 36 50 I Council to vote on Zabbia's over-S7 million city budget ployees, and an additional two percent set aside for merit raises. Buoyed by the anticipation of $70,000 per month ($900,000 per year) in sales taxes, largely from sales at the Ponchatoula Wal- mart, the Bob Zabbia Administration plans to purchase a new fire truck, a pumper, to supplement the 30-plus year-old pumper now owned by the city. The mayor emphasized in his Times interview Friday that his administration is working on a conservative estimation of in- Ponchatoula to get new city bus service Times Report Fifty cents will buy you a bus ride on a bus route to strategic destinations around Ponchatoula, to North Oaks Medical Center, where you can transfer to the Hammond line for another fifty cents and shop or visit doctors in that city, or ride to Hammond Square and beyond. The bus route is expected to begin a schedule that will take a bus on a one hour route with up to 10 stops once it is approved by the Ponchatoula City Council. PLEASE SEE PAGE 8 ParkinQ 9arage could be the answer Success choking downtown Ponchatoula By BRYAN T. McMAHON The Times has long editorialized in favor of building a down- town parking garage to free parking spaces for customers of our downtown businesses. And now, in this city budget cycle, it seems to be a possible achievement for Ponchatoula. ............. PLEASE SEE Historian Jim Perrin John Fisher Jr.'s home and the personal effects were de- stroyed by fire in February 1912 with the loss estimated at $2,500. The family of local farmer F. C. Parker fled from their home in April 1916 as flames devoured their unin- sured home. Mr. Parker's home was said to have been valued at $1,500 with about $1,000 worth of furniture lost, but no one was reported physically hurt. Homes inside the town of Ponchatoula generally fared PLEASE SEE PAGE 8 Photo by Craig Williams - Southland Photography Former Ponchatoula police station to be razed FGB property to be purchased for parking By BRYAN T. McMAHON The Bob Zabbia Administration continues to hit home runs when it comes to targeting and capturing state and federal grants. For instance, the city will only have to come up with 25 % of the cost of buying the stra- Rain or shine, they said and buyers turned out (Times Photo) Rain? What rain? An early morning wash down courtesy of Mother Na- ture on Saturday did little to deter bargain hufiters seek- ing deals at the Chamber's Kathy Allen location in the first block of North Seventh Street. (Times Photo) tegic downtown lot left vacant and leveled by First Guaranty Bank at the corner of Sixth and Hickory. And the city expects to pay only 25% of the cost of closing- in what some wits have called the "Grand Canyon of Pon- chatoula," the gaping ditch which is expected to cost a total of $655,000 in FEMA Disaster Recovery monies 'before it is filled with giant box and stan- dard culverts. The Zabbia Administration hopes to be awarded additional funding to pay for any increas- es in cost since the project got started. Other planned improvements to the city in Mayor Bob Zab- bia's proposed $7 million-plus budget include: Cleaning and repainting the city water tower (look for the city's new logo when it is painted), a $300,000 project at Athletic Park. This is made possible by the just-completed successful linking of city water towers, so one can be taken off- line for repairs without the city experiencing a water pressure crisis. Purchase of the old First Guaranty Bank branch location on North Sixth and West Hick- ory Streets, demolishing the PLEASE SEE PAGE 8 0 Eit PONCHA TO UIA I By OLE HARDHIDE The Alligator Last week I told you how Dr. Kathleen Elstrott is mov- ing home and buying the house next door to her parents and close to her new job at the Ponchatoula Animal Hospi- tal, but that doesn't begin to compare to the musical chairs switching of homes involving past police chief James McK- night and his Mary, who sold their North Sixth Street home to Mike and Ginnie Bohning, themselves buying from Larry Wilson and his Paula the former Councilman C.W. Kinchen home on West Hickory next to All Saints Episcopal. Encore, Encore, is the cry of those who missed the great Art Station knife making event centered on knife mak- er Brad Johnson who was introduced by President of the Friends of the Art Station Catherine Hoffer. The next time First Lady Kim Zabbia and her gang of art aficionados and practitioners announce a series such as this past one devoted largely to the spoken word, start lining up at the door. It was fantastic. Likewise, Chris Roussel has a winner on his hands bring- ing in super talent from Nashville and other points on the musical compass to his namesake jewelry-antiques-music shop in the historic Richardson Hardware Building in the first block of West Pine. He is asking for co-sponsors to step forward to help him keep attracting visitors to town from our surrounding cities and beyond, especially to his excel- lent Guitar Show. 'One professional gentlemen, a reader of The Times, came to town this past weekend from New Iberia and was sur- prised to find no live musical entertainment scheduled, and the city's two new super venues still not quite ready to open: Roux & Brew where C'est Bon Restaurant formerly held forth in the Hotard & Goode Building ih the very center of town, and Warehouse 140 Restaurant & Salobn in the late Stanley Cowen's Ponchatoula Auction Company next to Mi Patio Mexican Restaurant. Both venues are expected to at last open their doors, at PLEASE SEE PAGE 4 The Ponchatoula Times - Call 985-386-2877 - P.O. Box 743 - Ponchatoula, LA 70454-0743 - editor@! )onchatoula.com